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Shaker (1820-1860)

The Shaker style is a simple, utilitarian style characterized by straight tapered legs, woven chair seats, and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs. It was produced by the religious group the United Society of Believers in self-contained communities in the United States.

Simple - Straight lines, simple design, and little ornamentation.

(Contemporary style shown)

Chair Arms
Simple turning or flat - Arms are straight with a simple turning or are flat.

Chair Back Material
Wood - Solid wood, horizontal slats, vertical slats, or vertical splats.

Chair Back Shape
Ladderback or Slatback - Equally spaced horizontal flat slats, either straight or curved.

Chair Leg
Round - Round, usually shaped or turned leg.
Simple turning - Turned leg with a few types of turnings.
Splayed - Leg with a concave shape.
Square - Flat surfaced leg on all sides.
Straight - Straight leg, vertical to chair seat.
Tapered - Straight leg gradually decreasing in width.

Chair Seat Material
Cane - Woven rattan.
Rush - Woven rush.
Wood - Various types of wood.
Woven - Woven material, usually heavyweight cloth.

Chair Seat Shape
Square - Square shaped seat.

Drawer Pull
Wooden Mushroom-Shaped Knob - Mushroom-shaped wooden knob, often 1 inch high and 1.5 to 2.5 inches in diameter.

Cotton - Fabric made from the fiber of the cotton plant.

Oil Varnish - Clear finish that emphasized the grain of the wood.
Paint - Opaque, pigmented finish that obscures the grain of the wood.

Continuation of leg - Leg does not terminate into a foot.

Hardware Material
Wood - Various types of wood, carved or turned.

Exposed Joinery - Visible joints that lock wood together.
Dovetail - An interlocking wood joint in which a series of wedge-shaped projections fits into a series of alternating grooves.

Slight Curve - Gently curving lines.
Straight - Straight lines.


Finial - Decorative turning affixed to the tops of case furniture, and chair and bed posts.

Medium - Moderate dimensions.

(Queen Anne style shown)

Slender - Graceful use of stretchers.

(Hepplewhite style shown)

Ash - Whitish-gray American hardwood with similar graining to oak.
Birch - Red-brown American hardwood with a close grain.
Cherry - Red-brown American hardwood.
Elm - Red-brown American hardwood.
Fruitwood - Pink-brown American hardwood, including apple and pear.
Hickory - Red-brown American hardwood.
Maple - Golden to Red-brown American hardwood with a wide range of figures.
Oak - Gray-brown American hardwood.
Pine - Yellow to pink-brown American softwood.
Sycamore - Creamy-white European hardwood, treated to turn a silvery-gray or pink-brown color.

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